Join Date: Nov 2010
Location: Northern Illinois
I had a friend who used to pull some of the same crap, just like you two we were inseparable!! And best friend for 12+ years. Anyways she had a horse that she used to hit, whenever he did something wrong she would just wail on it. I asked her why she did that. She did it because the place she got "lessons" (and I don't know if I'd even call them that) that was acceptable. At any time when the BO got frustrated, she would whack the horse.
I'm a fan of John Lyons, and one of the things that always stuck with me from his teachings was that ANY horse can KILL YOU!! Now that is NOT a scare tactic but it sure puts stuff in perspective. I and I'm sure many others on here, have experienced the power of horses. That doesn't mean be afraid, but it does mean that a horse needs to be treated with the respect that they deserve. Even the smallest pony can retaliate and hurt someone, I'm not saying they will, but they theoretically could. That said, they deserve respect when being dealt with. I definitely understand discipline and correction, but it needs to be done in a way that will TEACH the horse, not just give it a bad experience. For example, when my horse used to turn her butt to me, I'd give her a good tap on the butt, make her move, and then after that, have her turn and face me and pet her. This was she learned that she needs to pay attention to me and not ignore me, but at the same time I NEVER hurt her or scared her for no reason. She learned from everything I did. EVERY TIME YOU WORK A HORSE IT IS A LEARNING EXPERIENCE, WHETHER YOU LIKE IT OR NOT. Her pony is learning that when she is ridden, it ends up bad. Ponies aren't stupid, she is going to eventually learn that being ridden=bad. Its only a matter of time.
Try being a good example to her, give her advice on how to use constructive techniques that teach the horse, instead of just punishing. If the horse moves when she doesn't want it to, have her teach the horse how to stand still, and have her desensitize it to scary things.
The first thing I thought of, besides the stuff above, was that your friend seems afraid of her pony. In my opinion, she needs work on not being afraid. So what if the pony moves or is fidgety? All horses get that way, just another opportunity to train. Sounds like your friend needs to learn to control her fear and anger and not blame the pony. She needs to first ask if she is doing something wrong. 90% of the time it is the rider, not the owner. Everyone makes mistakes. As John Lyons says, if your horse doesn't understand what you are asking, then you are asking wrong!! Good luck with her, and good job so far at setting a good example, I know how frustrating it can be. She'll learn eventually.
** Don't be the rider who gallops all night and never sees the horse that is beneath him **